Jean Montrevil, a prominent immigrant rights activist who was reunited with his family and community in New York City in October 2021, more than three years after his sudden deportation to Haiti, is set to receive a new hearing in immigration court.
On January 12, 2022, an Immigration Judge of the Immigration Court in Arlington, Virginia, issued an order to that effect, after Montrevil’s counsel and the Department of Homeland Security together moved to reopen the case. As a result, Montrevil has regained his status as a lawful permanent resident and can now pursue relief from deportation that would allow him to remain in the United States with his family on a permanent basis. Montrevil is also now one step closer to eventually becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, said Families for Freedom in a statement.
The order reopening Montrevil’s immigration case is the latest in a string of wins for him and his community of supporters. Last August, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam pardoned the convictions from more than thirty years ago that were the basis of Montrevil’s deportation order. Then, on October 18, 2021, Montrevil returned to New York, having received temporary special-interest parole that permitted him to enter the United States and reunite with his family.
“My faith has been restored in the ‘immigration system.’ This has been a dream come true for our family. Jean is finally receiving a second chance at life in America with his family. This has saved his life,” said Jani Cauthen, Montrevil’s ex-wife, the mother of his children, and Acting Executive Director of Families for Freedom
With his case now reopened, Montrevil’s case will now ultimately be heard before an Immigration Judge, where he will have the opportunity to show that he should be granted permanent relief from deportation. In the meantime, Montrevil has regained the status of a lawful permanent resident, and is not at immediate risk of being deported from the US again.
In 2018, under the Trump administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Montrevil at his home, without warning, in order to deport him to Haiti on the basis of a decades-old conviction from Virginia. ICE detained Montrevil and rapidly deported him to Haiti, despite an outcry from his family, immigrant rights organizations, and a number of elected officials. Montrevil then lived in Haiti for more than three years, forcibly separated from his children and community in New York, while conditions in Haiti continued to deteriorate, including a major uptick in violence last year, following the assassination of the country’s president and a major earthquake.